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Switzerland celebrates 70th anniv. of ties with China; ambassador calls for joint efforts to address global challenges

(People's Daily Online)    10:17, September 09, 2020

Swiss Ambassador to China Bernardino Regazzoni (People’s Daily Online/Xian Jiangnan)

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Switzerland. In a recent interview with People’s Daily Online, Swiss Ambassador to China Bernardino Regazzoni voiced confidence in reinforcing bilateral relations with China and enhancing cooperation to achieve sustainable development.

As one of the first Western countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China, Switzerland was also the first continental European country to sign a free trade agreement with China, the first European country to recognize China's full market economy status, and a founding member of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The two countries have made “quite a big achievement” over the past 70 years, said the ambassador. “As of today, China is to us the third most important economic partner after the European Union and the United States. [We have] a very strong economic relationship,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ambassador praised China’s unprecedented signs of further opening up, such as in the financial sector. “Switzerland strongly believes in open economies because we have a small domestic market. That educated us to be open in our economy, having free trade agreements with the whole world, including China,” he said.

Switzerland strongly believes in multilateralism and will work along with China for a full integration of international rules, said Ambassador Regazzoni. The ambassador stressed that Switzerland calls for building an effective multilateral system based on the same rules for all countries.

He added that as the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major setback for countries and economies, “it is very important that our economies stay open… More than ever, we need to work for an effective multilateral system, namely, for upgrading WTO rules and for trade and economic relations,” Regazzoni said.

2020 is a decisive year for China to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and to end extreme poverty. The ambassador expressed his respect for the impressive development China has achieved over the past seven decades, especially after China’s reform and opening up.

“I am really impressed by the success China achieved in the fight against poverty, which is unique in the history of mankind in such a short lapse of time to have taken out around 800 million people from poverty,” he said.

The ambassador also mentioned China’s rapid development of electronic commerce, noting that everyone from Switzerland would be amazed by how digitalization and payment systems have developed in China.

According to Regazzoni, Swiss companies are also active in joining e-commerce in China. About 150 Swiss brands are sold on major Chinese e-commerce platforms, and are performing well, he said, adding that it’s a thriving sector where Swiss products and companies can find their place in China.

Looking ahead, the ambassador said that one common goal Switzerland and China have for the decades to come is also cooperation in sustainable development. He noted that to achieve this goal, Switzerland and China have already launched bilateral projects in fields such as clean air and sustainable buildings.

“These are two examples about our innovative cooperation, no longer on poverty reduction, but aimed at achieving sustainable development goals in partnership with China,” said the ambassador.

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(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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